Why Kate Middleton Wanted to Deliver Cancer News Alone Without Prince William by Her Side (Exclusive)

Kate Middleton chose to share her cancer diagnosis without Prince William.

On Friday, the Princess of Wales, 42, spoke in a video message sharing that she was undergoing cancer treatment following her abdominal surgery in January. Princess Kate appeared solo, prompting some to wonder why her husband, 41, didn’t join her.

“It is a message from the princess about her health, and she wanted to personally deliver the message on her own,” a palace source tells PEOPLE.

The insider says Princess Kate made clear her husband has been “supporting her throughout.”

“William is extremely proud of his wife for the courage and strength she has shown not just this week but since her surgery in January, ” the source says. “Now more than ever, he’s focused on ensuring his wife has the privacy she needs to fully recover and that his children are shielded from the understandable interest in the news that has been shared.”

While the royal referenced Prince William and their children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis — multiple times in the self-written speech, she felt it was key she deliver it solo — and when the time was right.

“She and the prince needed time to process the news, she needed time to recover from surgery and she needed time to tell the children. That was the driving force,” the palace source says.

Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, were already out of school for the Easter holiday when the palace released Kate’s pre-recorded video disclosing the diagnosis, a decision made to create space for the family to have private time together in the coming weeks.

“William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family,” Princess Kate said in the two-minute address.

“As you can imagine, this has taken time,” she continued. “It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment. But, most importantly, it has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte and Louis in a way that is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be okay. As I have said to them; I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal; in my mind, body and spirits.”

“We hope that you will understand that, as a family, we now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment,” she added toward the close of the video.

While Princess Kate made the public announcement about her health alone and in her own words, her husband and children will continue to rally around her. This weekend, the Wales family will skip tradition by missing the royal family’s traditional Easter service at St. George’s Chapel and instead spend the weekend privately at home.

Prince William doesn’t plan to return to royal work until George, Charlotte and Louis are back in the classroom at Lambrook School in late April, following the parents’ choice to keep duties to a minimum to spend time with their children during school breaks.

“The children are at the center of their world,” a close friend says of the couple in this week’s PEOPLE cover story.

Another friend adds, “You take heart from the extraordinary resilience of children.”

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